Washington D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy continues to power the clean energy revolution among American small businesses and entrepreneurs with awards totaling $127 million to support 110 innovative projects – each focused on tackling the climate crisis by harnessing market-oriented solutions and emerging technologies. 

DOE’s Office of Energy and Efficiency and Renewable Energy will award $57 million to 53 projects by 51 American small businesses and entrepreneurs with phase II funding based on the initial success of their phase I awards, including follow-on awards to support projects closer to market.

Entrepreneurs from 20 states will advance bold ideas spanning a wide spectrum of technology breakthroughs, from harnessing energy and energy storage solutions to strengthening cybersecurity for solar networks.

Through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, the phase II awards support the research and development of innovative clean energy technologies toward commercialization. EERE phase II awards are awarded for a two-year project duration, with initial funding up to $1.1 million, and two potential follow-on awards of up to $1.1 million each.

This effort also reflects the Biden Administration’s commitment to ensuring that the clean energy revolution does not leave behind historically marginalized communities of color. Of the 51 companies, more than 25% identified as either woman-owned, socially and economically disadvantaged, or in a HUBZone, focusing on the growth of historically underutilized business zones.

“We are honored to support this diverse body of pioneering entrepreneurs committed to scaling clean energy technologies and creating good-paying American jobs,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “Because of their example of ingenuity and creativity, I’m confident that we have the capacity to tackle the climate crisis by deploying a wide range of innovative solutions right here at home.”

Project highlights from among this year’s 53 EERE selections:

Low Total Cost of Hydrogen by Exploiting Offshore Wind and PEM Electrolysis Synergies by Giner Inc. in Newton, MA: This project will directly couple and evaluate the use of an electrolyzer stack with an offshore wind turbine for hydrogen production. The technology has the potential to enable increased green hydrogen production from renewable offshore wind energy, reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.

A High Energy Density Vehicle Battery with Drop-In Lithium Anode Enabled by a Stable Liquid Electrolyte by Automat Solutions, Inc. in Fremont, CA: This project will develop additives to improve the stability of liquid electrolytes for lithium metal batteries. Enabling high energy density lithium metal batteries improves the range and cost of batteries and could facilitate widespread adoption of electric vehicles, key to EERE’s goal of decarbonizing the transportation sector.

Near Infrared Biomass Probe and Deployment Methods for Real-time, Field-based, Biomass Quality Measurement by ANTARES Group Inc. in Edgewater, MD: This project will help further develop a novel way to identify and measure the quality of biomass. This new probe will provide more rapid assessment of biomass quality than traditional testing, thereby guiding real-time decisions on the need for additional quality improvements to produce conversion-ready feedstocks.

Intelligently Manufactured Homes with Factory Integrated Solar Systems Delivered to the Build Site Enabling Dramatic Soft Cost Reductions by Phase3 Photovoltaics in Portland, OR: This company is advancing its low-cost, pre-installed solar-plus-storage system for new factory-built homes. Building solar panels into the pre-manufactured-home fabrication process can substantially reduce the cost of the system relative to a traditional rooftop solar installation on a home. This solution will help low- to moderate-income consumers benefit from clean energy and supports the equitable transition to a clean energy economy by 2050. Phase3 Photovoltaics won the American-Made Solar Prize in 2019.

Tilt-Up Tower and Installation System to Reduce the Cost of Distributed Wind Turbines by Pecos Wind Power in Somerville, MA: Current small wind energy technologies require cost reductions to cost-effectively harness untapped clean energy. A first-of-its kind tilt-up tower and installation system will introduce new pathways for standardization and efficiency. The goal of phase II is to develop and test a full-scale prototype for technical validation prior to commercialization. The targeted 15% cost reduction will enable small, distributed wind systems to support the transition to a carbon-free electricity sector by 2050 and unlock good-paying clean energy jobs.

Sliding Element Energy Recovery (SEER) For Water Purification Systems by Amorphic Technology in Allentown, PA (HubZone): The SEER technology is based on recovering hydraulic energy from the brine in the turbine section of the device using a dual sliding vane rotor assembly that works like a “pressure exchanger” to feed mechanical energy into the pump. The SEER design minimizes the number of parts compared to conventional energy recovery devices, has high operational efficiency, and low-capital and operational costs. The project is focused on reducing energy and cost intensity for better performing and more sustainable water treatment systems.

Atomic Precision Manufacturing for CNTFETs by Carbon Technology Inc. in Irvine, CA: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have unique, remarkable properties that make possible an up to 90% reduction in power use for semiconductors with linear performance at high power. This project is focused on atomic precision manufacturing of CNTs to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding market while improving energy efficiency and moving us closer to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

More information about the awards announced today is available at the Office of Science website. 

The mission of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.